Love your spouse
Love your children
Love your neighbor & enemy
Love those who are hurting
Love the lord your God.
Love, love, love, there are songs, there are books, there are shirts, there are stickers, mugs, key chains, poems, underwear and even certain colors and holidays dedicated to this word.
The world Love, according to webster dictionary it means:
1.an intense feeling of deep affection.
synonyms: deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment.
What a beautiful word. Just reading the synonyms makes me smile. What a beautiful word, what an action packed word and yet we say this, “I am in love with this bagel”, “ooh I love this shirt”, “I looooooove you” to everyone we meet and don’t mean it. Have you done that? For the sake of filling an awkward moment, or for the sake of a broken friendship or simply like me, to be completely fake and ungenuine? No? I use to do that for some reason.. I don’t really know why to be honest maybe out of insecurity that the person I met didn’t like me. When I truly understood LOVE I stopped throwing it around.
My mom always told me, ” love and hate are strong words be careful how you say them and to who or what”. Now that I’m older I teach my girls the same thing. Hoping they don’t use the word without (synonyms) deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment.
We have become a generation that waters down one of the most beautiful words ever created. We “love” this and that, we “love” a certain object or possession. We use the word and throw it around without meaning, excuse me while I wrinkle my face a bit.
Our love is easily misdirected. Love tends to become the creation and not the Creator; it loses sight of the eternal for the temporal; it focuses on the self, often to the exclusion of God and others. We become idolaters, focusing a part or all of our love elsewhere. We are “love breakers” more than “law breakers.” – credit to biblestudytool.com
Our human defenition of Love can NEVER compare to our God’s defenition. Our defenition is based on our feelings and some of us can’t even show it. God, he doesn’t water it down, as a matter of fact he did the opposite through thick blood for us. Sending his only son, he died because he Loved us. In the Old Testament the word LOVE is mentioned 131 times, in the New Testiment it’s mentioned 179 times. We can see that love is something worth learning.
Ok, bear with me. Last week we did a little intro to Galatians 5:22 the fruits of the spirit. This week were looking at the first fruit: LOVE. Why is it important in a woman’s Christian life? Can we even be women of God without it?
When I was writing this, I was in a bit of a slump. I was angry because things hadn’t gone my way that morning. I was frustrated and I was making sure everyone, and by everyone I mean my husband knew I was not happy. As I displayed a fit of anger over a messy kitchen… Yes, how foolish, (anyways) I sat down and started to read scripture. God has no problem making us see where we’re wrong and foolish so as I started reading, the more I dove in to finding out WHY I needed LOVE as a fruit of the spirit, my heart became BIG and my body became small. So I will read just SOME of the hundreds of bible verses I read on love that soothed my bratty heart and I’ll give you reasons why I, Ana Nelson need that fruit of the spirit: L O V E
- In marriage:
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
Obviously, this was another lesson for Ana and her attitude. My eyes looked down and I realized I wasn’t showing any of those towards my husband. As a matter of fact, why is it that it’s so hard to at times? Oh wait Love requires no boasting.. Woops. Oh wait it requires no arrogance or being … rude and it doesn’t insist in its own way… You get it right?! Without love (that fruit of the spirit) we are incapable of showing or giving these in our marriage! I boast, I’m rude, I DO insist on my own way. I am resentful. Without the Holy Spirits fruit of love I know I’m capable of all this! Now, thank you Jesus for your helper because I know I can also, bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things. Love never ends. Through this beautiful gift we give life to our marriage. There are many verses in the word ALL inspired by the Holy Spirit on love and marriage but I chose this one because I find it to be the hardest for myself.
- In raising children
Proverbs 13:24Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
Ok I know I get it, two very different verses but they ultimately say one thing. IF you have love you know it’s best to dicipline your children and we see that God agrees with this! I love my daughters and sometimes we have this misconception that because I love them I won’t dicipline them. Our generation is reeping the consequences of this mentality. If you have love you understand that even God diciplines those he loves or have we started to think we’re better than God that we don’t need to? Seems like it at times when it comes to parenting. Through the Holy Spirits gift of Love I’ve learned and I mean we really, my husband and I have learned that God diciplines us and therefore we use that precious gift of Love to dicipline our daughters. Please don’t think I’m writing this with a whip in hand, but also please don’t think I don’t take this serious. Without the gift of Love we view dicipline from God as a “curse” or “not fair”, we view dicipline as a form of abuse for our children we also miss the beauty of raising our children in truth. We believe that everyone else has it right except for God on diciplining our children. Truly, I am an eye witness to what a good dicipline can do from a parent (thank you mom and dad) I tell you I am so thankful. I learned that God diciplines me because he loves me and because I understood this, I understand that my parents did the same. Now it took me a while but I’m here, I get it. Thank you Jesus.
- With my enemy’s & neighbors in need
Matthew 5:44-48 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
“Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.” Love for neighbor is a decision that we make to treat others with respect and concern, to put the interests and safety of our neighbors on a level with our own. It demands a practical outworking in everyday life placing a retaining wall around the roof to keep people from falling ( Deut 22:8 ); not taking millstones in pledge, thus denying someone the ability to grind grain into flour ( Deut 24:6 ); allowing the poor to glean leftovers from the orchards and fields ( Lev 19:9-12 ). Our actions illustrate our love. Love for neighbor is “love in action, ” doing something specific and tangible for others.- biblestudy.com
Just a little story, as I promised.
One time, long ago before Jesus came in to my husbands heart, someone did something very unfair so unfair he got in trouble with the law. He had to pay for the actions of the other person and my husband knowing what they did was wrong and not getting what they deserved, he wanted to repay the person back with well… bad. How many of us have done that? Or I’ll put myself in the fire, one time a woman made me feel “stupid” so in return I wanted to make her regret it and make her feel stupid, making us both look stupid. Ha! When we don’t have Love as a fruit of the spirit we want to repay with evil. It’s the easiest, most “fair” thing to do. It’s so easy repaying evil with evil. How hard is it to do good to those that have done terrible things to us? Only through this precious gift did my husband repent and never hurt that person and actually forgave them! Only through this precious gift did it stop me from wanting to repay people with evil who have harmed my marriage and my children in the past.
Let’s switch it up a little, what about helping others? Without love we only seek for ourselfs. We don’t care to help the needy, to give money to those in need. Notice I don’t say lend, I mean give with a joyful heart wanting no medal or crowds to see. Scripture is filled with knowledge on giving out of love to those in need. Without love we can’t bring ourselves to help that single mom out with child care. That elderly woman clean her house, to give a family in need money to buy food. As a Christian woman I simply can NOT agree that we can go on living without this gift. Loving your neighbor is the second greatest commandment from Jesus! It’s not an easy thing to develope for someone like me, so I ask God to put me in a path to develope this gift. There are woman who naturally have this gift, so much that they over do it. Let’s be wise with knowing when to help also. Sometimes out of love and without wisdom we feed people in to what they want and they never grow from our help. Helping others without wisdom and Love leave us doing and breaking Gods heart at times. Lovingly rejecting evil is beautiful in God’s eyes. We need wisdom, I need wisdom.
- Loving God
Matthew 22:36-39 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”
“Love the Lord Your God.” We are incapable of loving either God or others condition that must be corrected by God before we can love. The Bible’s ways of describing this process of correction are numerous: “circumcision of the heart” ( Deut 30:6 ); God’s “writing his laws” on our hearts ( Jer 31:33 ); God’s substituting a “heart of flesh” for a “heart of stone” ( Eze 11:19 ); being “born again” by the Spirit ( John 3:3 ; 1 John 5:1-2 ); removing old clothing and replacing it with new ( Col 3:12-14 ); dying to a sinful life and resurrecting to a new one ( Col 3:1-4 ); moving out of darkness into light ( 1 John 2:9 ). Until that happens, we cannot love.
I left this one for last because well it’s the best one! If we didn’t have the gift of love, if we don’t ask God to help us develope this gift through trial we miss out on loving like Jesus did. We miss out on loving our creator! It’s the greatest commandment. We simply cannot be women of God without this beautiful fruit of the spirit! Without love for God we have no fear of God therefore we keep sinning without ever repenting. Without love, people commit murder, people rape, we commit adultery, we have idols, we abuse the system, we lie, we steal, we commit massive sins. All of it because we have no love for God. Without love we have nothing to stop us.
Because of this fruit given to us through the Holy Spirit left to us by our Lord Jesus before he decended to his throne I’ve continually have found myself growing to learn to LOVE. I’ve learned to love my husband, my children, those who hate me, those who need me and the one who created me. We cannot live a life without Love, this world has a very different defenition of LOVE we need wisdom to know that God’s defenition of LOVE is, the only defenition. That his gift leads us to change. I know it’s helping me. Is it helping you?
See you next week friend, God willing we can talk about joy… Something that’s foreign to me really.
Much love, Ana Nelson
What are some ways you’ve learned to LOVE though the Holy Spirit?